Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Once upon a time"

hosted http://headsortailshome.blogspot.com/


Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, son,

they used to laugh with their hearts

and laugh with their eyes:

but now they only laugh with their teeth,

while their ice-block-cold eyes

search behind my shadow.

There was a time indeed

they used to shake hands with their hearts:

but that's gone, son.

Now they shake hands without hearts:

while their left hands search

my empty pockets.

`Feel at home! `Come again:

they say, and when I come

again and feel

at home, once, twice,

there will be no thrice-

for then I find doors shut on me.

So I have learned many things, son.

I have learned to wear many faces

like dresses - homeface,

officeface, streetface, hostface,

cocktailface, with all their conforming smiles

like a fixed portrait smile.

And I have learned too

to laugh with only me teeth

and shake hands without my heart.

I have also learned to say,`Goodbye,

when I mean `Good-riddance`:

to say `Glad to meet you,

without being glad; and to say `It's been

nice talking to you, after being bored.

But believe me, son.

I want to be what I used to be

when I was like you. I want

to unlearn all these muting things.

Most of all, I want to relearn

how to laugh, for my laugh in the mirror

shows only my teeth like a snake's bare fangs!

So show me, son,

how to laugh; show me how

I used to laugh and smile

Once upon a time when I was like you.

Gabriel Okara

"Once upon a time"
is a stock phrase that has been used in some form since at least 1380 (according to the Oxford English Dictionary) in storytelling in the English language, and seems to have become a widely accepted convention for opening oral narratives by around 1600. These stories often then end with "... and they all lived happily ever after", or, originally, "happily until their deaths." These are examples of the narrative form, and occur most frequently in the narratives produced by children aged between 6 and 8. (from refernce.com)
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